Silver Knights successfully defend FCBL title

NASHUA – The scene at Holman Stadium was as jubilant as has been seen in quite some time.

The Nashua Silver Knights are now two-time Futures Collegiate Baseball League champions, as they topped North Shore 6-2 Wednesday night before 1,009 of their closest Holman Stadium friends.

“The fans, oh my God, the fans were tremendous,” said finals MVP Jon Minucci, who drove in the game’s first two runs. “This was a lot of fun here.”

“It was great to do it in front of our home crowd,” Silver Knights DH James Katsiroubas said, drenched in champaign. “Last year we won it on the road, but we wanted to bring a championship back to Nashua.”

They did just that, in machine-like fashion, winning three tight playoff games and then getting more breathing room on Wednesday, outhitting the Navigators 9-8 while taking advantage of three Navs errors. Ironically, defense was the only real blemish on the Silver Knights’ overall 43-13 record, but they were sparkling in the field in the title clincher, playing errorless ball.

“The last two nights, something we were worried about, our defense, but we played errorless ball,” Silver Knights manager B.J. Neverett said. “Boy they really flashed the leather tonight.”

They also got stellar pitching, a key their whole season. Starter Lamarre Rey tossed six innings of four-hit, two-run ball, while reliever Matt Houston pitched two scoreless, quiet frames and closer Cody Rocha finished up with a scoreless ninth.

As they’ve done throughout the playoffs, Nashua struck first, and early. The Silver Knights plated three runs on four hits (two infield) and an error in the first off North Shore lefty Josh Desai.

A walk to Chris Shaw loaded the bases with one out and Minucci (four hits in the series, a big defensive play, reached base five times) bounced a base hit past Navs third baseman Ryan Muno just down the line that plated two runs, and Dan Gusovsky’s infield hit made it a 3-0 game.

The teams traded single runs in the fourth, both scoring on 4-6-3 double plays after the bases were loaded.

“I came out, got the ball tonight, and wanted to compete as hard as I could,” Rey said. “Playing for this team was fun for me all year. … Even though I got frustrated at some points, I was able to settle down and throw the pitches I needed to when I needed to. Obviously my offense backed me up, they hit the ball well and we played serious defense.”

North Shore closed to within 4-2 on singles by Aaron Silbar and Tim Hendricks and an RBI groundout in the sixth, but Nashua plated two in the bottom of the frame to give the bullpen a nice four-run cushion. Rays Roman cranked an RBI single up the middle plating Gusovsky, who had singled and advanced on a passed ball.

Roman stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error on the play, and scored on Logan Gillis’ sacrifice fly.

While the Navs made the miscues, Nashua made the plays, including a sparkling diving stop and throw to first by third baseman Stephen Rogers with a man on to end the eighth.

“I can’t say enough about my teammates,” Katsiroubas said. “We worked hard all summer, and we brought the championship home.”

Terrill was on deck

Had the series gone to a third game, Hudson’s Travis Terrill would’ve gotten the start. Why? Because he was incredibly consistent during the year, going 4-0, 2.47. Yes, he was hit, (55 in 471?3 innings, but he only issued seven walks.

“I’ve always been more of a ground ball guy,” he said. “Two seams away, change-up. They get a lot of hits off me, but it doesn’t really do any big damage. A 3-1 count, I’d rather throw it right down the middle than give them the free base.

“I don’t light up the radar gun, but I definitely get the job done, that’s all that matters to me. I just stick to ground balls. We’ve got a great defense behind me, so that’s all you need.”

Already working
on 2013’s roster

Neverett has already signed seven players for next season – Sean and Connor Lyons, pitchers Connor Root, Alek Morency, Terrill, Cole Warren and Cody Rocha.

“We’ve got four or five other guys we’re waiting on, they’re just checking with their college coaches,” Neverett said. “We’d have 10-12 guys from this year’s team for next year, so that’s pretty good.”